Criss Angel and Uri Geller search for “The Next Great Mentalist” in new reality series Phenomenon, October 24 on A-Channel

Thrills, chills and defying all reason will be the name of the game in the new live reality series Phenomenon airing Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT starting October 24, only on A-Channel.

Starring mystifier/artist Criss Angel (Criss Angel Mindfreak) and famed mentalist Uri Geller, Phenomenon is a mind-bending intensive search for “The Next Great Mentalist.” Featuring 10, carefully selected contestants and hosted by Tim Vincent (Access Hollywood), Phenomenon’s riveting competition will have a five-week run with a special two-hour live episode on Halloween night, October 31 at 8 p.m. (visit to confirm local broadcast times).

Viewers can also catch an encore of this fascinating new series on SPACE Saturdays at 8 p.m.ET/5 p.m. PT starting October 27.

Based on the successful international format called The Successor, judged and monitored by Geller, Phenomenon tests 10 hopeful mentalists who compete each week to demonstrate a wide spectrum of mystifying talents. A panel of weekly celebrity guests and the studio audience will participate in the performances as Geller and Angel assess the contestants and offer their expert opinions. The winner will be chosen by the viewers at home, who will vote to determine which competing mentalist will receive the grand prize of $250,000 and become “The Next Great Mentalist.”

Renowned mystifyer Criss Angel is the creator, director and star of his critically acclaimed series, Criss Angel MINDFREAK. His extraordinary talents have also been featured on various Criss Angel specials and on CSI: New York and Las Vegas. In the summer of 2008, Angel will team up with “Cirque du Soleil” for a live magic experience at the Luxor Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, slated to run for ten years and over 4600 shows.

Geller soared to international fame with extreme mind-over-matter abilities that aroused much controversy in his hundreds of TV shows across the globe. Geller was instrumental in creating the first interactive TV show, which had him use his mind to bend spoons and fix broken watches in viewers’ homes as they watched him perform on television.

The contestants preparing to mystify viewers include:

Jan Bardi
Residence: Keerbergen, Belgium; Hometown: Leuven, Belgium

Jan Bardi studied bioengineering at university and earned his master’s degree, but found that he was always happiest onstage. Through study and performance, Jan polished his act and made a career out of his “Psycho Stunts”, which use psychology and mentalism to amaze audiences. Jan has starred in several successful television series and specials in his native Belgium, earning him celebrity status. He has traveled all over the world and even performed inside the Great Pyramid on Egypt’s famous Giza plateau.

Guy Bavli
Residence: Sunrise, FL; Hometown: Tel Aviv, Israel

The youngest of three boys, overweight and in the middle of his parent’s divorce, Guy Bavli found solace in illusions. He watched Uri Geller on Israeli television and was inspired. Guy performed his first gig at a Tel-Aviv country club at age eight. He learned his craft mainly through books. He spent three years in the Israeli military where he became a mind reading entertainer-soldier and a member of the Air Force performing group. Guy has spent three years contracted at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and appears at other noteworthy locations around the world. He moved to the United States in 2002. Guy is engaged to be married and has a seven-year-old daughter, who is developing mentalism skills of her own, having recently bent her first spoon.

Jim Callahan
Residence: Beaufort, SC; Hometown: Pittsburg, PA
At age seven, Jim Callahan watched a movie about Houdini and his obsession with magic began. Years later, he started his career by combining Houdini’s art of escape with his interest in the paranormal. Jim claims to be followed by the spirit of a deceased man named Raymond and who communicates through a pendulum. His most prized paranormal feat is called “The Déja vu Experiment” where he asked one person to think of a city, another person to think of a number and another to think of an object. He then shows a DVD recorded four days earlier where he had predicted exactly what the people said. Jim is married to his grade-school sweetheart and has a teenage daughter.

Angela Funovits
Residence: Avon Lake, OH; Hometown: Avon Lake, OH

Angela Funovits became fascinated by illusions at age 10. Her interest grew when she learned her great-grandfather was rumoured to have been a celebrated magician in China. At age 11 she began modeling and at age 16 won the “Miss Teen Cleveland” pageant. During her senior year of high school, a family member was diagnosed with heart disease, which inspired her to create “The Magic of Medicine”- a workshop that helps cancer patients and families cope with their diseases. Currently, she is a medical student and has been offered the opportunity to perform in “The Pussycats of Magic” in Las Vegas.

Wayne Hoffman
Residence: West Lawn, PA; Hometown: Reading, PA

Wayne first learned of his talents at age seven, spending many years at the local magic shop honing his craft. At age 15, Wayne performed his first professional gig and never looked back. He now plays college campuses around the country and recently even performed for Hollywood’s elite at the Playboy Mansion.

Jim Karol
Residence: Upstate, NY; Hometown: Allentown, PA

Jim Karol is a former steel worker who now a mystifier. Twenty years ago, Jim dreamt the winning numbers of the Pennsylvania state lottery. He gave out the numbers at all of his shows and they proved to be correct. By giving the numbers out at his local shows, he had created hundreds of winners and he became famous overnight. Today he is a regular college campus performer and has appeared on national television programs, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Ellen. Jim worked as a consultant on the Jackass films, and was featured in Jackass 2.

Gerry McCambridge
Residence: Henderson, NV; Hometown: Long Island, NY

At age eight, Gerry McCambridge received a magic set for Christmas. Soon after he became awe-struck by illusionist Doug Henning’s Broadway and TV performances. After his parents divorced, Gerry would perform magic on the streets of New York City to earn extra money for his single mother. By the time he graduated high school, Gerry was an established nightclub and comedy club performer. Eventually he was averaging over 160 performances per year. After years of being on the road, he decided to make a move to Las Vegas. He currently headlines nightly at Hooters Casino Hotel so he can remain close to his wife and six children.

Eran Raven
Residence: Tampa, FL; Hometown: Irvine, CA

At an early age Eran Raven began having vivid dreams about the future, but he thought this was common. It was not until years later that he realized he had a special gift and began performing. Two years ago Eran was diagnosed with Bells Palsy, which caused him to lose the ability to move the right side of his face and made the left side of his face twitch. His condition, now under control, has taught him to look at life differently, live life to the fullest and further embrace his gift.

Jason Scott
Residence: Las Vegas, NV; Hometown: Reading, CA

Jason Scott has distinct memories of mystifying people as far back as kindergarten, when he moved crayons for his class. He has only held two jobs, teaching Jiu Jutsu and mystifying people as a mentalist. Today he does daily shows at the Playboy Club in Las Vegas, private events for celebrities and has performed at venues ranging from Children’s hospitals to the Playboy Mansion.

Ehud Segev
Residence: New York, NY; Hometown: Safed, Isreal

Raised in Israel, Ehud Segev was the runner-up of the Israeli version of Phenomenon, titled The Successor. He moved to America to pursue his dream of performing. He has performed all over the world, as well as off-Broadway in his own show “Anomal”. Ehud claims that his routines are unique because they have to do with spirituality and connections.